At Perth, on 11th May 1559, the strident voice of John Knox sounded the knell of the ancient Church of Rome in this country, and within a period of sixteen months thereafter a 'holy, godly Reformation,' the most complete and thorough in Europe, was established by the Estates of Parliament. Irrespective of the question of dogma, the Church at this date lay singularly open to the attack of the Reformers. Wanton licence prevailed among all ranks of its salaried professors, and there was no native hand strong enough to restrain excesses. The papacy of the day was overwhelmed with its own troubles and griefs, and was not in a position either to strengthen the bonds of discipline, or to afford assistance to its distressed servants. The duties of the parochial clergy thereupon fell to a large extent into the hands of men described by Knox and other contemporary writers as'the friars.'<br><br>Now, within the folds of the Church there existed a great number of organisations, both lay and clerical, whose members devoted their lives to the furtherance of the sacred cause of Christianity.